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Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment) - FdSc

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Become a specialist in enabling people who are blind or partially sighted to be as independent as possible in their day to day lives by studying this foundation degree in Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment). As one of the only programmes of its kind in the UK, teaching for this rehab course will be based at our recently extended £71 million campus in Edgbaston, Birmingham. 

  • Level Undergraduate
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City South
  • Award FdSc
  • Start date September 2023
  • School School of Health Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences


 The information on this page is for the direct entry FdSc Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment). If you are interested in the apprenticeship for this course, please visit the FdSc Rehabilitation Work Apprenticeship page

Become a specialist in enabling people who are blind or partially sighted to be as independent as possible in their day to day lives by studying this foundation degree in Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment). As one of the only programmes of its kind in the UK, teaching for this rehab course will be based at our recently extended £71 million campus in Edgbaston, Birmingham. 

This course is not open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Visual impairment is a life changing experience and very often you will be working with people who are at a crisis point in their lives. A qualified Rehabilitation Worker's strength is to be a problem solver and to respond to a person's unique and complex situation. You will develop individual training programmes based on the person's needs and aspirations.

Your initial learning focuses on the individual and the impacts of visual impairment on all aspects of life. You will look at how to work in partnership with your clients and their families, and how to work inter-professionally to promote the needs of experiencing sight loss.

You will also learn how to enable people with a visual impairment to become independent in their daily lives. This may be through teaching orientation and mobility skills, safety and independence in the kitchen and the home, techniques to overcome communication barriers and making the best use of a person's strengths and any remaining vision.

You will attend the University’s recently extended £71 million City South Campus for block learning weeks that are spread throughout each academic year. During these weeks you be involved in lectures, simulation sessions and a range hands on group activities on this practical course.

You will benefit from learning from an experienced teaching team and specialists from the sector as well as using our specialist resource rooms and training kitchens. In between teaching weeks you will be able to access extensive online materials and take part in valuable work based learning placements.

Why Choose Us?

  • We’ve invested £71 million in our City South Campus - featuring state-of-the-art facilities, including a home environment and kitchen to give you real-life experiences in the classroom
  • Trusted qualification - this foundation degree is accepted as the trusted qualification to be employed as a Rehabilitation Worker in local authorities and non-statutory agencies across the UK. The course is delivered through seven block teaching weeks spread throughout each academic year. These are blended with work placements in each academic year and online study
  • Study alongside your present employment - if employed within the sector you may be able to continue working full-time with dedicated study days. For those in unrelated job roles you may be able to manage studies and placement commitments alongside a part-time job role. Our virtual learning environment (Moodle) provides resources for each module to guide self-directed study in-between University attendance weeks
  • Dedicated work placements - in each academic year ensuring you qualify with the competence and confidence to work effectively in practice. Many parts of the course are very practical and hands-on. Lectures and online support will enhance your learning and you will be putting skills into practice from week one
  • Employability skills - working with the individual, and as part of the professional community, you’ll develop specific skills to improve the mobility, communication and independent living of people with all levels of visual impairments
  • Expert knowledge - experts from outside the University are involved to provide additional specialist knowledge and experience. Engagement with people who have a visual impairment ensures you gain in-depth insights, invaluable feedback and a sense of personal satisfaction from supporting people to live independently
  • Student resources - being part of the University’s Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences within a large higher education institution means there are many extra resources from which our students can benefit. These include extensive IT services and support, library resources including help with researching, our Personal Development Department

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Entry Requirements

Evidence of one of:

GCSE at grade 4 or above at English Language (or equivalent e.g. GCSE grade C, key skills level 2, adult literacy level 2 or CSE grade 1 will be accepted).

Plus one of the following

  • Level 3 NVQ or Diploma or equivalent (full award)
  • 2 or more A-Levels (DD/48 UCAS tariff points) or a BTEC ordinary National Diploma
  • Level 2 NVQ or Diploma (full award) plus a written paper (details of content will be provided by the admissions tutor post application)
  • 5 GCSE passes at grade 4 (grade C) or above plus a written paper (details of content will be provided by the admissions tutor post application)


For applicants with relevant and significant work experience in the disability sector there is the option to complete a written paper (this will be set by the admissions tutor following receipt of an application).

Additional entry requirements:
  • Prospective students should demonstrate the ability to undertake studies at Foundation Degree level.
  • Personal experience or experience of working with people with visual impairment is desirable. Relevant experience in other health and social care settings will also be taken into consideration.
  • All applicants are required to be aged 17 years or above on entry
  • All applicants must have access to, and be able to use broadband internet and e-mail facilities, as a proportion of this course is delivered through these media. Please see IT specifications for further details.
  • This course requires students to learn to teach people with visual impairment in high-risk situations, such as crossing roads independently, working safely in the kitchen and managing home and personal care. It is a requirement that students will already be competent themselves in these daily activities, and have the capacity to monitor the safety of those they are learning to teach. The application form asks you to confirm this requirement.
  • If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 overall (or equivalent) is required.
  • Most of our students are not school leavers, and a number have chosen this course in order to change their career or return to work.
  • Mature applicants without formal qualifications must demonstrate personal or professional experience within a health and social care profession and the ability to study at Foundation Degree level.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: FdSc

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 2 years
  • TBC

International students

Sorry, this course is not available to International students.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.


You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

DBS check

You will require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for this course. Your first DBS check is included in your fees.

Placement expenses (mandatory)

There may be some costs for travel or temporary accommodation associated with placements.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including a long cane (£35) for orientation and mobility practice.

Conference attendance (optional)

You may have the opportunity to attend conferences as part of the course.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

 The information on this page is for the direct entry FdSc Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment). If you are interested in the apprenticeship for this course, please visit the FdSc Rehabilitation Work Apprenticeship page

Your application will be considered for one of our course selection days. These days include the following activities:

  • A check of your entry requirement qualifications and personal identification.

  • An overview of the course

  • A tour of the Faculty

  • An observed group discussion activity and IT task for applicants

  • A short individual interview and observation of your guiding skills.

To support your application and your prospects for being successful at selection please consider the following suggestions: 

  • Consider carefully how you will manage the demands of attendance at University, work placements, independent study and your other life commitments.

  • Work shadow a Rehabilitation Worker (Visual Impairment) in your local area to learn more about the profession.

  • Read more about the profession, for example, use web searches.

  • Volunteer with local or national agencies that support people with a visual impairment. This can help build up your experience of working with people who have a visual impairment.

To find out more about services that support people with a visual impairment in your local area please follow the link below:

Personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Year one

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Year two

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Download course specification

Download now

The course is a blend of face to face teaching blocks, independent study and work-based learning placements.

Face to face teaching blocks

Teaching is organised into week-long blocks spread throughout each of the two academic years. These intensive group learning weeks (GL weeks) gives you the advantage of uninterrupted training in a convenient form. This allows students to travel to Birmingham from all over the UK to attend teaching weeks. During these weeks many students stay in local hotel accommodation.

There will be interactive classroom based lectures, group discussions, debates and presentations that may range from the application of theoretical concepts to the study of practical rehabilitation programmes. Due to the nature of the role, you will experience many practical teaching sessions through simulation activities in order to ensure that you are adequately prepared for practice. The sessions tend to be in small groups and very often you will work in pairs with fellow students. You will learn new skills and the techniques to teach these skills to a high standard. Specifically these types of sessions are used in the teaching of orientation and mobility, communications and kitchen based skills. These sessions will use our resource rooms, training kitchens and specialist facilities as well as Faculty buildings and the wider area.

Independent study

When away from University, we recommend you have at least one or two study days per week. This is to allow dedicated time for independent study and preparation of work for upcoming GL weeks as well as time to complete placement workbook tasks and assessment related study.

All the course and module information can be accessed and downloaded from our virtual learning environment called, Moodle. Following each GL week, Moodle is updated with useful information, key resources, assessment briefs and forthcoming teaching resources. You can interact with other students via online forums to discuss module content and to ask general questions to course tutors. Your assignments will also be submitted through Moodle.


You will complete a work-based learning placement in each academic year. This takes the form of a 40 day work placement in year one and a 60 day placement in year two. These are invaluable opportunities to build up hands-on experience and skills from the visual impairment sector.


You will be provided with detailed assessment instructions through dedicated face-to-face assessment briefing sessions and written assessment documents.

The course team use a broad mix of assessment methods to reflect the types of work students will be doing in practice. These include:

  • Written assignments
  • Placement portfolios
  • Observations of practical skills teaching sessions
  • Video analysis tasks
  • Viva voce (oral question and answer exams)
  • Case study analysis
  • Presentations

Assessment days are currently taking place online via Microsoft Teams. 

If you wish, please contact the admissions tutor, Peter Cooke, to discuss your options:


Enhancing Employability Skills

You'll graduate from this course with a recognised and valuable rehabilitation worker qualification. You will have the competence and skills to enable people who have sight loss to be as independent as possible in their day to day lives. You will develop a range of problem solving skills that will be crucial in your practice. Also, you will gain knowledge and experience from work with a range of professionals who work within a wider multi-disciplinary setting. 

Our graduates find jobs with organisations including local authorities, sensory services teams and national and local charities.

As a rehabilitation specialist, you would be qualified to apply for work outside of the UK, for example, New Zealand.


You will complete a work-based learning placement in each academic year. This takes the form of a 40 day work placement in year one and a 60 day placement in year two. These are invaluable opportunities to build up hands-on experience and skills from the visual impairment sector.

First year placement:

This 40 day work placement may take up to two or three days per week between October and May during the first academic year. This work involves building up experience of working with people who have visual impairment and other disabilities. As part of the placement portfolio there will be several related tasks to complete to maximise your learning experience. For example, observing and reflecting on the practice of qualified professionals. Please note that the first year placement is not concerned with the teaching of rehabilitation independence skills, it helps build the foundations for the delivery of these services in year two of the course.

You may have the opportunities to volunteer to work with local charities. You may be involved with befriending and volunteer visiting schemes as well as supporting social groups and hospital information services. Your current job role may meet the requirements of the first year placement – this may allow you to continue working full time with a study day each week. If you are not in a related job role you will need to ensure you have enough time during your working weeks to fulfil placement and study requirements in between the group learning weeks. This may be manageable if you are working in a part time role three days a week. In this instance you will have to set aside evenings and weekends for independent study time.

Second year placements:

You will complete a 60-day work placement usually between February and May in year two of study. This is usually four days a week for 15 weeks with a study day each week. The first two weeks take the form of induction activities that often occur in November prior to the block placement beginning in February.

You will be expected to perform the role of a Rehabilitation Worker (RW) (Visual Impairment) delivering specialist assessment and independence training to people who have a visual impairment. This will be as part of an active Local Authority Sensory Services team or with a voluntary organisation that hold the contract for the provision of rehabilitation services. Each placement has a qualified RW as a mentor who will provide an induction into the agency and work shadowing opportunities as well as allocating and supervising your caseload.

More about our placement opportunities


Examples of some of the skills rehabilitation workers can offer their clients:

  • Teach individuals how to cross roads independently and negotiate complex routes
  • Demonstrate a range of adaptive equipment. This could include new technology such as smart phones and tablets.
  • Instruct in safe cooking methods and daily living skills, for example, ironing.
  • Provide group training programmes to fellow professionals such as Social Workers, Occupational Therapists and Hospital staff.
  • Teach a range of communication skills, for example, Braille and Deaf Blind alphabet signing.
  • Give advice and reinforce training in relation to the use of magnifiers and low vision aids
  • Provide support and advice to individuals with a sight loss, carers, family members and parents of children with a visual impairment.
  • Advise about design and modifications to specific environments to make them more accessible to those with visual impairment, for example, a person’s home or a soon to be built shopping centre.

This innovative and unique course offers you the opportunity to develop teaching skills to work with people who have a sight loss. This course will develop your specialist skills, knowledge and understanding to enable you to qualify as a professional rehabilitation worker who may gain employment in a social services department or a voluntary organisation. You will learn about not only the problems of sight loss, but also how to help people experiencing sight loss in a much broader context.

Work based learning is an integral part of the course. There is the requirement to attend a minimum of 60 days with an organisation that provides services linked to sight loss in year one. There will be opportunities to observe practice and interactions with individuals with a sight loss. In year two, there is the need to attend 60 days with an organisation that provides dedicated rehabilitation services. This is where you will start to manage a case load and deliver tailored services in relation to the individual’s needs.

If you are already employed by an organisation that provides services then it would be likely that you would stay with your existing employer while on the course. However, year two work based learning requires you to carry an actual case load - so the organisation must hold the contract to deliver the localities rehabilitation services for second year work based learning.

Facilities & Staff


We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

We boast up-to-date, innovative facilities that simulate the real situations that medical staff may come across.

These resources are essential in offering students a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice. Much of our teaching is carried out within our state-of-the-art, £30m Seacole Building, which houses cutting-edge learning facilities.

Take a virtual tour of our skills suites at Seacole

In a sector where new techniques are constantly being discovered, we work hard to ensure that students learn using the most up-to-date equipment available. These include the only mock operating theatre in an English university and a cutting-edge radiography virtual clinical training facility, virtual ward and virtual case creator.


Our training kitchens allow Rehabilitation Work students to develop and practice skills to enable people with a visual impairment to prepare and cook food independently. You will have access to the kitchens for your independent study and you will be able to experience what it may be like to use these techniques. 

Visual Rehab Resource Room

This room allows the Visual rehab students to learn to use a whole variety of equipment such as braille machines and specialist adaptive equipment.

Mary Seacole Library

The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The state-of-the art facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.

Computer Facilities

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, full colour printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.

Our staff

Peter Cooke

Senior Lecturer/Admissions Tutor

Peter’s connection with the visual impairment sector began following his diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa when he was 15 years old. Early volunteering experience working with children and young people fostered an intrinsic interest in developing a career involving work with those living with serious sight loss.

More about Peter

David Bignell

Programme Lead Rehabilitation Work

David is a qualified Rehabilitation Worker and the Programme Lead for the Foundation Degree in Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment), the BSc (Hons) Specialist Complex Needs Rehabilitation Work top up’ degree and the BSc (Hons) Habilitation Work Working with Children and Young People course. David studied at the Guide Dogs School of Vision and...

More about David